Aussie Sevens team unfairly blamed for incidents says Kerevi
REACTION: Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi believes the Australian men’s Sevens team has been unfairly blamed for some incidents that didn’t involve them during a boozy flight back from the Olympics.
The Sevens team and the Australian Olyroos [Under-23 football team] shared a flight back from Tokyo late last month, with reports soon surfacing of players causing damage, making a mess and at least one person vomiting in the toilet.
Rugby Australia launched an investigation that found a number of the team’s members drank excessive amounts of alcohol while also being disruptive to cabin crew and other passengers onboard the flight.
They found no evidence of any property being damaged or that the mess in seats, aisles or bathrooms were caused by the Sevens team.
Each member of the team was handed a formal warning.
Kerevi was part of the Sevens program in Tokyo and he has since linked up with the Wallabies ahead of the August 28 clash with the All Blacks in Perth.
The 27-year-old feels the entire Sevens team has been unfairly targeted for some things they didn’t do.
“It was really tough the first couple of days quarantine for a lot of the news to come out that wasn’t necessarily true,” Kerevi said.
“The boys are willing to take the blame and cop that they did have a couple of beers on the plane, and it wasn’t just our group.
“Obviously we still have standards we have to fall by. It is what it is I guess and the stories did come out.
“But the most important thing was the people that mattered to us knew exactly how the group carried themselves and how their behaviour was on the plane.
“Everyone else can make judgements and say what they want to say, but the most important people in our group and our lives knew the truth.”
The men’s Sevens team finished a disappointing seventh in Tokyo and Kerevi is keen to be part of the team that seeks redemption in Paris in 2024.
But for now he’s desperate to help the Wallabies regain some pride after two recent losses to NZ.
The All Blacks beat Australia 33-25 in the Bledisloe Cup opener before thrashing them 57-22 last week.
Kerevi thought his Wallabies career was over after moving to Japan after playing at the 2019 World Cup.
But a change in the Giteau law means Wallabies coach Dave Rennie can now pick two overseas-based players who don’t fit the 60-Test cap criteria.
There’s talk Rugby Australia may banish the law altogether to allow the Wallabies to field the best team possible, but that could lead to a mass exodus of players from Super Rugby.
“I’m overseas at the moment and it would work in my favour,” Kerevi said.
“But in saying that, I think you’ve got to give the guys who are here at home the opportunity to put on that jersey.
“They work really hard to play in that Super Rugby AU competition and ply their trade here.”